Kasey Lansdale is an accomplished author and actress, but it's music that is her primary passion. During her childhood, Kasey would sing along with Reba’s Greatest Hits and listen to groups like the Contours which led her to write her first composition at age seven. In 2013 she teamed up with Grammy Award-winning producer John Carter Cash on her album Restless, a pairing that was so creatively successful, she ended up working with him again on her latest EP, Leave Her Wild. After a year of extensive touring, Lansdale kindly took the time to speak about her roots, the album and much more.
Coming from a family of writers, when did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?
Music has always been something I knew I wanted to do. I was writing fiction before I was writing songs because it’s something my family did [Lansdale's father is author Joe R. Lansdale]. It made sense to follow in their footsteps, but I found more often than not, what I wrote came out as music rather than a book.
Were you always drawn to country music?
It was country, blues, and the female vocalists of the 90’s like Wynonna, Reba, and Trisha - women who had a true vocal quality as well as good songs. I grew up listening to other things as well including what my parents were listening to, which was music from the 1960’s. I have a real affection for that era because that was the time before pro-tools and machines where you really heard what artists do naturally.
Released earlier this year, Leave Her Wild was produced once again by John Carter Cash. How did the two of you initially connect?
John is a fiction author like my father and we met through mutual friends. At the very end of Reckless, I had all of these songs and nowhere to go with them. John offered me to come to his cabin and the rest, as they say, is history. I got lucky because working with him and his team was such a comfortable environment. They’re all about assisting artists find what works for them and hockey-pucking you back in play rather than telling you what to do. There’s a difference between guiding someone and taking someone’s craft and dissecting it every step of the way and they don’t do that - as artists and musicians themselves, they really get it. It’s important to be open to outside opinions, but you don’t have to take them. You can filter through and find merit in some parts and use what works for you.
Sounds like a very comfortable working environment.
All of the songs on the EP were written by you; were they written since Restless or were some older?
All of the songs were written after my first record except for “Falling In and Out of Love” which was written before and was actually heard on the Sundance channel [show, Hap and Leonard]. I always loved that song, but it didn’t do anything for my original producers. Luckily, John is all about finding joy in the music and allowing it to speak to people; he liked the song and we put it on this EP.
The EP was officially out in September and honestly, it was so exciting because it was a new, fun direction for me. This time it was about finding songs that spoke to me and learning about the craft as an artist and songwriter. There’s so much difference between the studio and live work and I feel like being on the road, talking with people, and listening to them helped me grow and have more depth.
The current single from the project is “Living in The Moment.” What is the story behind the song?
I feel like l have been having the same conversation with everyone lately – we’re all trying to slow down, enjoy the moment and appreciate all we’re given. And I think a lot of it had to do with how earning money has changed, especially in music. If you said fifteen years ago that music would basically be free - minds would have been blown. Rather than try and control everything in our lives and in the industry, the song is saying ‘It is what it is, so let’s make the best of it and find a way to enjoy the moment.'
One of my favorite tracks is “Okay,” why did you choose to put that song last?
I think it leaves an optimistic hopeful essence. We all go through things in life that are hard and complicated, but at the end of the day, I can say I have a roof over my head, people who love me and great friends… and I’m okay with that. Everything is perspective and when we can step back and say everything is fine, well I feel like that’s a good message to leave on.
It does leave one in a positive state of mind.
You have toured extensively, are you planning to tour with this record?
I toured twenty-eight states last year for Restless, but I recently moved to LA and I think it’s important to stick around and build a presence in this new region. Maybe next year I will hit the road, but right now I want to enjoy the fact that the album came out as well as the holidays with my family.
Being that you're from Texas, what spurred the move to LA?
I am originally from Texas and you can make a good living simply from touring the state, but that was never my goal. I never actually relocated to Nashville, although I did go there for meetings, recording and touring. I basically toured every region except the West, and thought that since I was doing music, and had cuts in films and television that I would move there. It’s been good for me because I still write fiction and act a little, so LA is a good place for me to expand all of my interests. I just finished a novella with my father, Case of the Bleeding Walls, a paranormal investigation story, and am working on a short story and novel as well. I enjoy writing, but music is my first passion. When an album is done and I’m sitting here going “What now?” that’s when I find writing is very therapeutic, but if I try to battle them out, it’s not as successful.
In addition to music and writing, you recently filmed an upcoming episode of Animal Planet?
Yes, and that episode will air in January. I was asked to come on the show and had no idea what to expect…and I ended up having the best time! I left thinking ‘Gosh, anytime they ask me to come into the woods and sing for Bigfoot, I’m there!” It was so much fun!
Finally, I always like to know if there is any recent release that you cannot stop listening to and recommend people check out?
Actually, I just made a playlist of songs I’m really into. I love Shakey Graves, LP, Sturgill Simpson, Parker Millsap and Michael Kiwanuka. And Joe Purdy has a song called “LA Livin’” - every time I hear it I crack up, because he’s talking about, and I say this with all respect, a good old boy’s perception of how it is to be in LA. There’s so much good music out right time, you just have to look for it, find it…. and hopefully pay for it.
For more information visit her official website
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify
Purchase Leave Her Wild here